What Happens If You Don’t Floss Your Teeth?

Flossing has been a hot topic for longer than most of us can remember (actually, we remember it was in 1815). And while many questions are still tossed around about flossing – Is it okay not to floss? How often should you floss? Etc. – a clear-cut answer to most of these questions is still lacking unless you’re reading this blog post.

Dont Floss Your Teeth

What is flossing?

Let’s take it back to basics. What is flossing? In the America Dental Association’s (ADA) own words, “Interdental cleaning [commonly known as flossing] helps eliminate debris and plaque located between adjacent teeth, specifically targeting interproximal dental plaque”. Simply put, you’re inserting waxed nylon or Teflon (both eco-friendly) between your teeth to stop plaque buildup.

How to floss?

Step 1: Loop a stretch of floss between two of your fingers (your indexes or middle fingers, preferably).

Step 2: Get a good grip on the floss to make sure it doesn’t slip off your fingers.

Step 3: Wase the floss between your teeth, applying a firm yet gentle pressure in a sawing, back and forth motion.

Step 4: After the floss is in position, make sure to bring your hands together so that the floss assumes a “C shape” around the tooth, effectively encircling it.

Step 5: Repeat steps 3 and 4 for each tooth, using a new, clean section of floss every time.

What happens if you don’t floss for a year?

You might ask yourself, “What if I don’t floss for a year? Is it ever too late to floss?”

First things first, if it’s been so long since you flossed, you should set an appointment with your dentist and get the professional teeth cleaning you deserve.

Second, the majority of dentists agree that flossing comes with way too many advantages to be disregarded. It reduces your odds of developing cavities, helps prevent gingivitis and more.

Consequences of not flossing

⦁ You run a higher risk of developing gum disease.
⦁ You might develop halitosis or bad breath.
⦁ You are at an increased risk of getting cavities and tooth decay.
⦁ You increase your chances of developing tartar.

Isn’t brushing enough?

The short answer is No. Brushing is not enough. The bristles (or filaments) on the head of your toothbrush are excellent for cleaning the surface of your teeth, but they come short when you’re trying to clean the hard-to-reach areas between your teeth. Therefore, you should aim to do both: brushing to cover the surface of your teeth and flossing to ensure that the sneaky parts of your teeth are also covered.

What are the different types of floss?

Floss comes in different shapes (and even flavors), the most common ones being:

  • Waxed floss: Usually made from nylon, it has higher structural integrity (so it is less likely to break during usage, it is also lightly waxed, which might make it a bit harder to reach tighter spots.
  • Unwaxed floss: The standard floss; it is made from nylon. Unlike waxed floss, it can reach tight spaces, but is more prone to breaking.
  • Super flosses: Made specifically to clean the area around both dental bridges and braces. It is made out of a yarn-like material.
  • Polytetrafluorethylene floss (PTFE): You can think of PTFE as the best of both worlds (compared to waxed floss and unwaxed floss). It has good structural integrity and still manages to slide in between teeth.
  • Flavored floss: Not really a category of their own. The aforementioned flosses (waxed, unwaxed, super flosses, and polytetrafluorethylene flosses) have flavored variants that children and adults can enjoy using.

When should you floss?

Optimally, you should consider flossing before going to sleep, right after brushing your teeth. This way, you can get rid of all the plaque and bacteria that have accumulated throughout the day. And on top of it, you can help the fluoride inside your toothpaste to reach spaces between your teeth that it couldn’t otherwise get to.


There you have it: a clear and concise guide on flossing, how to floss, and the most common myths about flossing debunked.

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